Duque: PH’s target for COVID-19 herd immunity may extend to January ‘at most’
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s target of reaching herd immunity against the deadly COVID-19 disease may extend to January 2022 “at the most,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday.
Duque, however, said that “all these depends on the adequacy of the supply” although if 500,000 people will be inoculated per day, vaccinating 70 million individuals for their first doses will only take 140 days.
It must be noted that some vaccines require a four-week interval between the first and second dose while AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots require an interval of 12 weeks.
To achieve herd immunity, around 70 percent of the population should be vaccinated.
“So more or less matatapos mo ng mga ( you will finish around) November to December. At the most pwedeng umabot hanggang (it could extend to) January. Again, all of these depends on the adequacy of the supply,” Duque told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, adding that supply from some vaccine manufacturers faces delays due to logistical issues.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the country may reach its benchmark for herd immunity with 58 to 70 million of the population receiving full doses by November.
Duque said the country is nearing its target of vaccinating 500,000 people per day after it reached 350,000 inoculations on Wednesday.
The country is expecting to receive over 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the month of June and another 11.67 million doses in July. Galvez said 25 percent of the incoming doses for the rest of the month will each go to Visayas and Mindanao.
While the country has yet to achieve herd immunity, Duque reiterated the government’s call on local government units to implement public health protocols and urged hospitals to continue converting isolation beds to intensive care unit beds to help save those with severe and critical cases of COVID-19.
“Ang akin lang paalala sa mga pamahalaang lokal, mayors, governors, siguraduhin po natin na hindi tayo nagluluwag kasi ng ating pagtalima sa minimum public health standards,” he said.
(My only reminder to local governments, mayors and governors, is to ensure that we are not relaxing compliance to minimum public health protocols.)
“Ang problema, nag-GCQ ‘yung iba tapos nag-MGCQ, nagluwagan naman ang pagsunod, nawala ang disiplinadong pagsunod sa minimum public health standards. Ang laban na ito ay nakasalalay sa bawat Pilipino, bawat indibidwal. Hindi naman ‘yung parang wala tayong laban. May laban tayo dito,” he added.
(The problem is when other areas were downgraded to general community quarantine and modified GCQ, the people’s compliance to minimum public healths standards has eased. This fight depends on each Filipino. We are not defenseless here.)
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